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Qatar’s national university has jumped 44 spots in an international ranking of top varsities around the world.

Qatar University (QU) is now 349th in the latest edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, which came out this week.

The numbers reflect the 2018 edition of the index. QU rose from 393rd in the 2017 rankings, and 481st in 2016.

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King Saud University

QU also ranked fourth in the GCC and fifth in the Arab region.

The top-rated universities in the Gulf were King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (173rd) and King Saud University (221st). Both are located in Saudi Arabia.

The breakdown

The QS World University Rankings 2018 takes into consideration some 4,000 universities when compiling its rankings. They are scored on six indicators:

  • Academic reputation (40 percent),
  • Employer reputation (10 percent),
  • Citations per faculty (20 percent),
  • Student to faculty ratio (20 percent),
  • International faculty (5 percent); and
  • International students (5 percent).

Among the factors that boosted QU’s score were a high number of faculty staff with PhDs, the university’s research focus and large international student body.

Qatar University

QU President Dr Hassan Rashid Al Derham

In a statement, QU President Dr. Hassan Al Derham said the results reflect “the high quality education that Qatar University offers to its students and the alignment of its academic programs with the needs of the local labor market.”

“This also reflects that our graduates are capable to excel and compete in the local and international labor market, as well as to pursue their graduate studies at the top international universities,” he added.

Questions over quality

However, just how well the QS rankings reflect university quality is up for debate.

The index has been criticized in previous years because it relies on online reputation surveys that end up accounting for some 50 percent of a school’s score.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to a study by a UK-based higher education think tank in December, these types of surveys are dubious at best.

“They are flawed methodologically, as effectively they only measure research performance and the results favor a small number of institutions,” the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) said.

However, QU is also listed among the world’s top universities by the Times Higher Education‘s index, which are based on different criteria.

Thoughts?

Chantelle D’mello / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the coming weeks, hundreds of young expats will graduate from Qatar’s universities. Many will grapple with visa and employment questions.

Oma Seddiq at the Daily Q, Northwestern University in Qatar’s student publication, has put together some advice to help these seniors with their transition out of school.

It is aimed specifically at those departing Qatar Foundation colleges, but we’ve added in some information for Qatar University students, too.

If you’re graduating in Qatar soon, here’s what you need to know:

1) If you’re on a student visa, your residency permit will expire soon.

Once you graduate, new alumni of Qatar Foundation usually have about three months to cancel their RPs or transfer their sponsorship to an employer or other entity.

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Qatar ID card

Notably, for QU students, international students only have five days to cancel their RPs after graduation, according to the university’s website.

However, graduating students should contact the school immediately after completing final exams to convey whether they want to cancel or transfer their RPs.

2) If you cancel your RP, you must leave Qatar within seven days.

Canceling will require submitting your Qatar ID and passport to your coordinator.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Remember that if you own a vehicle, you must transfer that ownership registration to another resident and pay all traffic fines before canceling.

Here’s a checklist of some other requirements expats must meet before canceling their RPs, including closing out bank accounts, credit cards and loans.

3) Transferring your sponsorship will require an NOC from QF.

You won’t be able to get this until you present copies of your QID, passport, employment contract and employer’s valid computer card.

BunchandBrock Law

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

You will also need to clear all outstanding dues with QF’s finance department. Once you get the NOC, your employer will complete the process.

4) EC Graduates need to clear out of their dorms by May 11.

Departing seniors can stay in HBKU housing for an extra week after graduation, but need to have emailed Housing and Residence Life already to get that extension.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

HBKU residence halls

It will cost additional fees to stay longer, including in the summer.

What advice would you add? Thoughts?

Qatar University

QU campus

More than a handful of new college buildings, accommodation blocks and leisure facilities are due to be opened at Qatar University (QU) this year.

The facilities are part of a QR5 billion plan to overhaul QU’s Duhail campus to accommodate thousands more students.

Work has been ongoing since the five-year master plan was launched in 2014.

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Qatar University library/For illustrative purposes only.

At that time, the university said the revamp would help it cater to up to 25,000 students by 2019. It currently has 17,000 students enrolled in programs across its nine colleges.

In the coming three years, QU will spend around QR3 billion on projects to upgrade and expand its facilities, Ibrahim Yousuf Al Fakhroo, QU’s director of Capital Projects Affairs told QNA this week.

New dorms, colleges

Facilities that will open this year include on-site housing blocks for male and female students.

The dorms will have 668 rooms that accommodate a total of 1,000 students.

This should reduce the university’s spend on renting accommodation across the city, Al Fakhroo said.

There will also be new housing for visiting members of faculty. This will include 208 apartments, a gym and a club for the use of staff and students.

Meanwhile, a new building for the College of Pharmacy will be inaugurated this year, three years after construction began.

And a new building for management students within the College of Business and Economics is also set to open this year.

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Rendering of College of Engineering building

Joining it, the university’s oldest college, education, will get upgraded facilities that will be “inaugurated soon,” Al Fakhroo said.

And a new Early Childhood Center will be opening its doors during 2017.

Additionally, work on dedicated facilities for College of Law students is underway, he added.

When the five-year plan was first launched, there was also proposals for a new complex to house the College of Engineering.

More parking

To tackle the university’s parking crunch, a new, multi-story car park for 2,000 vehicles will also open sometime this year.

In addition, a traffic study is being conducted to assess current and future needs of students and faculty members as they navigate the 5.5 million sq m site in the north of the city.

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Lecture halls and car park

The upcoming facilities are not all about studying.

Work is also underway on a new student affairs complex that will include recreation and sports areas as well as restaurants and shops, the university official said.

And, in the coming months, tenders will go out for the construction of sports and events facilities including stadiums that can be used to host competitions.

These projects are in addition to new study halls that opened in September 2015, providing extra space for 3,600 students.

The completion of these new facilities appears to have fallen somewhat behind initial schedules. They were planned to open last year.

More students

Under pressure from the local community to take more students, particularly Qataris, QU has been expanding its intake in recent years.

The Class of 2016 was the largest-ever cohort of graduating students from the university.

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QU Graduation 2016

Meanwhile, last March the university relaxed its admissions standards to make it easier for undergraduate students to get accepted into its programs.

And just a few months earlier, it revised its academic probation policies to make it easier for struggling students to boost their grade point averages and obtain a college degree.

Thoughts?